Memorial Day thoughts… (a little late)
Memorial day is something different to many people. Memorial Day to so many people is a three day holiday; I can be convicted of this too. What do I truly know? I live in a world of retired service men and what I’ve come to discover is they don’t have a voice.
Yesterday my little (younger) brother laid out two open beers. I had seen an earlier post of his which recognized two names. Names personally I didn’t know. But I know my “little” brother (and yes for the record I will always call him that.) and I knew as “big” sister I was suppose to do something. Tonight I plucked up the courage to ask him (and yes, courage for anyone who has lived with a serviceman) what the bottles meant. My husband is also a retired serviceman, and rarely have I been able to get him to talk about any of his time in service, so I know how hard it can be for them to speak about any thing they know or feel. This is why I thought to ask; if he wanted to talk about it, he could. If he didn’t, he didn’t have to. I just thought it was important enough for him to place the beer bottles there that I thought I should ask. They sat cold, unopened and in full light (normally he keeps his blinds closed) as he told me they stood for two very brave young men who simply had given their all. They had been friends of his from our hometown. I stood in the doorway, wine glass in hand, and wasn’t sure what to do. Awkwardly, as I stated out loud that I felt awkward, I walked away. Memorial Day to my brother means something far more intense than it means to me. To him, recalling friends who have passed. To me, a thankfulness of service. Different paths, different outcomes. Eventually, I returned to see if he wanted to discuss it more and we did for a bit. What stuck with me is that he said at least I cared enough to ask why he placed them there.
I started reading through several veterans posts on various social media platforms and began to see a trend. Many service men and women felt that few of the population really cared or could possibly even appreciate what Memorial Day meant to them. Some mentioned even that pre 9/11, they hadn’t ever even gotten a thank you for their service. But Memorial Day, as my brother said, is more about remembering the fallen. It didn’t matter how they fell, whether directly from the war or affected from the war and so full of desperation that they felt there was only one way they could escape, it is (and always should be) about remembering that they did die in service for our country. I guess I just never thought of it this way.
Next year, I’m going to make sure my sons and I participate in an event that honors those who have served and fallen due to the service. And on Veterans day, I will make sure to thank all who have served and can hear my thanks. So, to all the Americans who have lost the battle while fighting in the many of ours, I thank you for your service. Even if you can no longer hear my words, I hope you are never forgotten and that more people recognize this day is about you and not about a nice day to BBQ.